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Iraqi PM to establish committee to investigate diplomatic attacks ‘very soon’

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is rushing to establish a committee that will investigate the attacks on diplomatic missions and international targets inside Iraq, the head of the Iraqi parliament’s security committee said on Monday.

“The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Mustafa Al-Kadhimi will form a committee to investigate the assault on diplomatic missions very soon,” Mohammed Ridha told state news agency INA.

“The aim of the committee is to identify the groups which are targeting diplomatic missions in Iraq in order to restore the sovereignty of the country,” Ridha added, saying that MPs and representatives from Iraq’s defense and interior ministries will join the committee.

The comments follow reports that the US has warned Kadhimi that it will close its Baghdad embassy and completely withdraw its troops if Baghdad can’t rein in militias attacking foreign actors.

However, the US ambassador to Baghdad said Monday that Washington will continue supporting the Iraqi government in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and maintaining security in the country, according to state media.

Convoys driven by Iraqis and contracted by the US-led coalition have come under almost daily attacks across central Iraq in recent months.

Diplomatic missions have also come under attack. A British diplomatic vehicle hit an IED in Baghdad earlier this month and a blast at an English-language institute in Najaf’s city centre on September 18 caused substantial material damage.

The attack on the British embassy vehicle was condemned by influential Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the commander of Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah, Abu Ali al-Askari.

Diplomatic targets are more often hit by missiles within Baghdad’s Green Zone, home to foreign diplomatic offices and Iraqi government buildings. Two Katyusha rockets fired at the American embassy in mid-September were intercepted by a US air defense system. Three mortars landed in the area on Tuesday morning.

The US Embassy and Iraqi military bases hosting coalition troops have been repeatedly targeted since the US assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in January.

It is believed that the Iran-backed Islamic Front for Resistance inside Iraq (al-Muqawama) is responsible. Its aim is to force US troops to withdraw from the country and units of the group have claimed responsibility for similar attacks.

Most of the members of the Islamic Front for Resistance in Iraq are part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic), a paramilitary military group created in 2014 to fight ISIS. It was allegedly established by Soleimani shortly before his assassination and is thought to be composed of militants drawn from the ranks of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Kataib Hezbollah, the Badr Organization, and al-Nujaba.

A primary goal of the front is to force the US to withdraw its troops from Iraq. It is also designed to act as an insurance policy should Tehran lose influence over Iraq’s government. It is independent from Iraq’s official military and political structures, allowing it to pursue Iranian interests without outside interference. Source